The holiday season is in full swing. No matter what religion you may be (or maybe you don’t have one), statistics show this time of year is more stressful than most other times. While I cannot take the stress away from you, I can give you great tips to help you manage your stress and make this a healthy happy holiday season.
According to Chin-Hsiang Yang, PhD at Pennsylvania State in University Park “when people are both more mindful and more active than usual, they seem to have this extra decrease in negative affect”. Yang conducted a study published in the Journal of Aging Physical Activity (2018;20i 10.1123/japa.2017-0390) found reductions in depression and anxiety and improvement in mindfulness when individuals exercised regularly and watched portion size. The following tips are those that I incorporate and have a number of my clients implement into their life. They can be used throughout the holidays as well as any time during the year.
- Be active daily! I’m not suggesting you need to do a hard-core workout every day, but I do suggest you get your body moving. Light stretching, going for a walk, body weight squats, push ups, etc.… The key is to get your heart rate elevated, which in turn will release endorphins.
- Don’t skip your workouts. I suggest you get in at least 3 x’s a week, ideally 5 x’s for weight training, cardio and/or yoga.
- Don’t eat a ton before you go to the holiday party. I know some suggest you eat before you go so you’re less likely to overeat. What I have found is if there’s going to be food and/or drink that you really want, it doesn’t matter if you ate before. You’ll still find room and now you overate and ate before you went. I recommend you eat less throughout the day to save room for whatever treat(s) you are looking forward to. Just remember, moderate is key.
- If you drink alcohol (don’t drive!) and alternating with water. The water will help you stay hydrated and reduce the likelihood of a hangover and will slow down your alcohol consumption.
- Continue to track your food and workouts along with how you’re feeling. Writing things down will help you stay on track. That being said, if you have fitness and/or nutrition coach shares it with him/her if you don’t find a friend that can help you stay accountable. Often times, if we know someone’s going to look at what we are writing down, we will make better choices.
- Start your day off with water with lemon and a little sea salt. This combo will help with dehydrations and replacing electrolytes.
- I also like to have 1-2 modified detox/cleanse days. I use Tuesday and Wednesdays as my days. On these days, I eat only one meal (dinner) and the rest of the day I do 2-3 juices and 1-2 protein shakes. These days help me to refocus and eliminate bloat and some inflammation.
So this holiday season or whatever time of year you may have more going on than “normal” use the above tips and you’ll come out on top.
Scott Keppel is the owner of Scott’s Training Systems, a world-class coaching facility in Chandler, Arizona. He is a nationally certified trainer through NASM and ISSA. His mission is to empower women of all ages and fitness levels.